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SAG-AFTRA report to help alleviate discrimination against LGBT performers and Equity UK Campaign

American FIA affiliate SAG-AFTRA has recently published a report on the working conditions and professional outcomes for LGBT performers. Though their situation seems to be improving, it appears that discrimination against LGBT actors still persists to a certain extent in the USA, with nearly half of the lesbian and gay respondents strongly agreeing that producers and studio executives believe that lesbian and gay performers are less marketable.
The report, based on responses from over 5600 SAG-AFTRA members, found that one-third of all survey respondents believed that casting directors, directors, and producers may be biased against LGBT performers, and more than half of LGB performers had heard anti-gay comments on set. Findings suggest as well that LGBT performers may have substantial barriers to overcome in their search for jobs. On top of the ‘less marketable’ issue, nine percent of LG respondents and four percent of bisexual respondents reported that they had been turned down for a role due to their sexual orientation. The report also highlights that LGBT respondents are less likely than non-LGBT respondents to have an agent, which may put them at a disadvantage when looking for work.

The report further reveals how some study respondents felt that choosing to play an LGBT character limited future casting opportunities. Indeed, about one quarter of LGB respondents who have played an LGBT role reported that experience had an impact on their ability to get non-LGBT roles.

You can read and download the SAG-AFTRA survey here. It covers a range of topics, including demographics, work history, attitudes and beliefs of respondents and others in the American entertainment industry, the workplace climate for LGBT performers, and experiences looking for work and working as a performer. You can also read the resolution adopted by the recent SAG-AFTRA Convention’s delegates recognising and supporting the union’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members and their rights to equal employment opportunity and discrimination-free workplaces. Furthermore, you can read and download the “I can act but I won’t pretend” article and campaign from FIA’s British member Equity, also looking into the problems that LGBT performers are currently facing in their working environment.